Inclusive Physical Education


It can be challenging for physical education teachers to effectively include students with special needs into their classes. Here are a few strategies to help ensure that all students are able to participate in physical education:

Organization and Management

  • Be sure the space is free of hazards
  • Put special needs students near the front when explaining instructions
  • Provide opportunities for exploration and allow adequate practice time
  • Group students by mixing ability levels- do not put all special needs students in one group


  • Be sure the equipment is age appropriate for age and size
  • Use different types of balls or equipment that are easier to manipulate and/or less threatening
  • Deflate balls to slow the activity down
  • Increase/decrease the size of the target to meet individual needs

Activity Modifications

  • Limit the size of the play area
  • Change or simplify the rules of the game to equalize abilities
  • Allow for different skill levels within the same activity; kick a stationary ball instead of a pitched ball
  • Designate a space for each student, when needed, such as using a spot, carpet square, hoop etc

**Remember to address each student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) as well as their individual needs and seek out help to expand your knowledge about working with special needs students.